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Rightist Leader 

Yoshio Kodama 
(pronounced kohdahmah) 
is one of the most 
powerful men in Japan. 

He was instrumental in 
founding the ruling 
Liberal Democratic 
Party (LDP), had a hand 
in naming several 
Prime Ministers , and 
lias settled disputes 
among top businessmen. 

He commands the 
allegiance of Japan's 
ultrarightists and is 
blood brother to a number 
of yakuza (leaders of the Japanese underworld) . 

Kodama' s power, which he skillfully wields 
from behind the scenes, rests in his considerable 
wealth — both monetary and in obligations owed him 
for past favors. He uses his wealth lavishly 
to sponsor like-minded politicians and patriotic 
youth movements and to encourage the martial 
arts, a military alliance among anti-Communist 
regimes in Asia, and a revival of the old emperor 
system . 

Living Legend of Ultranationalism 

One of the causes to which Kodama has devoted 
much of his time and money is the rightwing, 
ultranationalist movement. He joined the movement 
in his teens, and his name was associated with 
terrorist incidents and rightist arrests that 
marked the upsurge of Japanese militarism in the 
early 1930 's. After the outbreak of war with 
China, Kodama organized an underground agency 
based in Shanghai to procure strategic material 
for the Imperial Navy. The Kodama Agency was 
also involved in smuggling, narcoti.cs trafficking 
and paramilitary operations. It was through this 
organ that Kodama accumulated the treasure in 


EXEMPTIONS Section 3(b) 

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(2)(G) Foreion Relations [J 

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Yoshio KODAMA (cont.) 

gold, platinum, diamonds and radium that has 
allowed him to support numerous rightwing and 
anti-Communist groups since World War II. 

During the 1960's Kodama headed the Youth 
Thought Study Society, the top rightist organization 
in Japan. Established in 1961, the society is 
composed of 30 rightwing organizations and has an 

estimated membership of 2,700 men. Kodama 
the society in military training 

CHS . 


te 1960 's, and his goal of ' 
(in contrast to the "one mat 

"one man, 
for one 




motto of the prewar extreme nationalists) has 
become a rallying slogan for the rightists. 

Kodama chose to entrust the leadership of the 
society tc younger activists in July 1970, but 
he has continued to finance its activities. He 
hopes that the ultranationalists will consolidate 
into a federation capable of a decisive confrontation 
with leftists and labor organizations. He also 
underwrites the training of a private army that 
is designed to support regular Japanese forces 
in case of a Communist uprising. In the past 
he has also publicized the capability and 
willingness of the rightists to rescue police 
when they are unable to control the challenge of 
the radical leftists. 

Backstage Politician 

The wealth Kodama accumulated during the war 
and the prestige he earned in wartime conservative 
circles also allowed him to play a strong role 
in postwar politics, both national and international. 
He was imprisoned as a Class A war crimes suspect 
after the war but was never brought to trial, and 
he became politically active after the end of 
the Occupation. Kodama did much to advance the 
political careers of his close friends Eisaku 
Sato, Nobusuke Kishi and Ichiro Hatoyama, all of 
whom served as Prime Minister. Kodama was deeply 
involved in the normalization of Japan-Korean 

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Yoshio KODAMA (cont.) 

relations in the mid-1960's. In 1973, after the 
Kim Tae-chung kidnaping had thrown relations between 
the two countries into turmoil, it was Yoshio Kodama 
that leading LDP politician Yasuhiro Nakasone called 
upon to suggest solutions for the crisis. 

Early Life 

Yoshio Kodama was born on 18 February 1911 in 
Fukushima Prefecture to a family of samurai rank. 

He received his primary schooling in Tokyo and in 
Seoul, Korea, where he resided for a time v/.ith his 
sister. For 2 years, while working in a factory in 
Korea, he attended the Zenrin' Commercial School at 
night. He received no further formal schooling, 
but he continued his education through private 
study and is widely read in the social sciences. 

Personal Data 

Kodama has a simple, direct manner, and he uses 
straightforward, unadorned language. He has been 
married twice. In 1935 he married for the first 
time; this marriage ended in divorce, and in 1940 
he married again. He has at least one son and one 
daughter by his second wife. Kodama is thought to 
be fluent in a dialect of spoken Chinese. His 
autobiography, translated into English under the 
title I Was Defeated , has been a best-seller. 

29 January 1976 

Comments and questions on this report may be directed 
tc u Z2 CIA/DDI/CRS, Code 14Z J ext. 6291. 

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